Rwanda to partially lift virus lockdown

KIGALI (AFP) – Rwanda will partially lift its virus lockdown from next week and allow people to move freely during the day more than six weeks after being confined, the prime minister’s office said yesterday.

Rwanda was one of the first to impose strict lockdown measures in Africa, on March 22, when it had only 19 cases, and to date has officially recorded 225 cases and zero deaths.

From May 4, citizens will be allowed to move freely from 5am to 8pm, and will need permission to do so later in the evening, the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Businesses, manufacturing and construction operations will be allowed to resume with essential workers, while markets will be allowed to open with no more than 50 per cent of traders operating.

According to the statement hotels and restaurants will be allowed to operate but must close by 7pm.

People will be allowed to exercise in open spaces but sports facilities will remain closed.

No more than 30 people will be allowed to attend funerals, and schools, churches, gyms and bars will remain closed.

Transport between different provinces is still banned, borders remain closed and mass gatherings prohibited.

“Masks must be worn in public at all times,” said the statement.

People hold the Rwandan and Qatari flags as supplies to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic donated by the Qatar Fund for Development are loaded onto a Qatar Airways flight to Kigali in Rwanda at Doha’s Hamad International Airport. PHOTO: AFP